The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has begun to deploy a cloud based platform giving analysts and researchers increased access to data from a range of sources.
Named the Integrated Data Service (IDS), it has been made available as a private beta version to a selection of government analysts to compare and combine data held by ONS and other organisations.
The organisation is planning to launch a public beta version for accredited researchers from outside government next spring.
It has selected three projects for the private beta reflecting major government priorities. One is on wage growth, with ONS and the Treasury investigating how wages change across the country to inform the levelling up agenda.
The second involves working with the Valuation Office Agency to provide information on the energy efficiency of homes around the country. The third is a collaboration between ONS and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to analyse how text from local news sources can be used to understand concerns of communities.
Part of strategy
DCMS Minister for State Julia Lopez said: "The Integrated Data Service is a crucial part of our National Data Strategy and will make it easier and quicker for policy makers to access robust evidence for making the decisions that can improve the lives of people across the country.
"Unlocking the power of data will boost the economy, create jobs and help us build back better from the pandemic.”
Alison Pritchard, the deputy national statistician for data capability, said the service builds on the ONS Secure Research Service (DRS), which has been securely providing a variety of de-identified data to accredited researchers for over 15 years. Like the SRS, the new service will not provide any personal information that could be used to identify individuals.
She added that it will incorporate robust security and ethical protocols.
"The service demonstrates how data held, managed and accessed in a trusted and secure environment can benefit us all by providing essential insight on social and economic factors,” Pritchard said.
“I am particularly looking forward to engaging widely to explain how we are protecting the data appropriately and making sure it is put to use for the public good."
An ONS spokesperson said there are four datasets currently on the service with plans to add more.
The organisation is also planning to launch a new portal powered by the IDS later this month to make it easier to access a range of climate change statistics.
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